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Friday, February 12, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-12-2016

Ogden Standard, February 12, 1916:

Jimmy Callahan, new manager of the Pittsburg Pirates, says he may have his players practice without gloves in the spring.

Callahan says some players, after a winter of rest, are too enthusiastic and cut loose before they are ready, running risk of putting their arms out of business.

If players are forced to play without gloves they will slow down, says the Pirate chieftain.

If players are forced to play with ten broken fingers, they will slow down.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 12, 2016 at 09:35 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, history

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-11-2016

Washington Times, February 11, 1916:

The [Baltimore] fans, or, at least, many of the more determined, have set their hearts on a major league team and insist they will not be happy with anything else. In an effort to get what they demand cards are being spread broadcast calling on all lovers of the game to boycott the International League team as representing “tank town baseball.”

Here’s the card:
STAND UP FOR BALTIMORE!
We want BIG LEAGUE BASEBALL or nothing.
...
We can’t compel the moguls to give our city major league Baseball, BUT they surely can’t make the fans support their tank town flag station league.
DON’T Patronize the Internationals.

I know they were angry, but that seems…counterproductive. I do like the phrase “tank town flag station league”, though.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 11, 2016 at 06:53 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: baltimore, dugout, history

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-10-2016

New York Evening World, February 10, 1916:

Last night [William Howard] Taft was the chief speaker at the dinner at the Waldorf, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the organization of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs…Taft asserted that he was for the umpire, first and last. He advocated giving the arbiters even more power than they now have. “I would stop all the chattering on the coaching lines and in the players’ benches. It is unfair for a player to try to unnerve his opponent. This may be rather radical from a professional baseball standpoint, but it is advisable.”

Taft was a bit of a stick in the mud, but IMO would have been a fantastic choice as the first commissioner. He was sort of busy in the 1920s, though, with his job as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 10, 2016 at 10:31 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, william howard taft

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-9-2016

Milwaukee Sentinel, February 9, 1916:

Fred Moore, who two years ago was clubhouse boy for the Athletics, today is a member of the Detroit Tigers, having been signed as a second baseman by Hugh Jennings.

When the Athletics were winding up the series with Washington in 1914 some one suggested that Moore be given a chance to get into the game against Griffith’s team. It started as a joke, but the kid, who was only 18 then, played in three games. He batted against Bentley, Shaw, Ayers and Harper for .500.

The Mackmen thought it was a great joke, but some one tipped Jennings and Hughie now thinks it a greater joke than the Athletics imagined.

Moore never did play another game in the majors, but he’s got a permanent spot in the history of the sport and he’ll always be a .500 hitter. Not bad for a kid who was only playing as a joke.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 09, 2016 at 06:47 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, ferdie moore, history

Monday, February 08, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-8-2016

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 8, 1916:

Baseball magnates, players and fans are elated over the dismissal of the Federal League’s suit against organized ball. Had the suit been pressed, as the Baltimore Federal Club owners threatened, and had Judge Landis finally rendered a decision, it is certain that the effect on the national game would have been great.
...
In dismissing the suit, Judge Landis said, in part:

The court’s expert knowledge of baseball, obtained by more than 30 years of observation of the game as a spectator, convinced me that if an order had been entered it would have been, if not destructive, at least vitally injurious to the game of baseball.
...
I want to say that in all the preliminary evidence and the various arguments…not the slightest evidence was presented to cause the most suspicious person to impugn the honor of the game or of any of the individual players.

Sounds like a wholly impartial judge who would leave his personal feelings out of it when it comes time to render a verdict.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 08, 2016 at 09:55 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, federal league, history, kenesaw mountain landis

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Bip Roberts Was The First Bip

The link goes to the Value Over Replacement page, whose author seems to have a thing for names…...she has produced a spreadsheet with every given name (or “first” name) for every player in MLB history   AND   the date of the first appearance of that name!

Link to the spreadsheet, via Google Drive

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fsV6bR4aHIRlyZEMwHy3wAbre2hogrJ9HLyqSpVCrgo/edit#gid=0

pthomas Posted: February 07, 2016 at 01:07 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Friday, February 05, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-5-2016

Topeka State Journal, February 5, 1916:

Jim Scott, big league star, got his start this way: In 1907 Oskaloosa in the Iowa State league had eleven pitchers and no catcher. The manager wired to Chicago for a catcher and through mistake Scott was sent out. He was determined to pitch in the first game after his arrival, and did so well that he was signed to a contract before the end of the game.

A fun story, but it likely isn’t true. According to Scott’s SABR bio, he showed up uninvited in Oskaloosa after a failed tryout 60 miles away in Des Moines.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 05, 2016 at 06:57 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jim scott

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-4-2016

Pittsburgh Press, February 4, 1916:

In a Western league game last season the following play came up, the like of which probably never before occurred on a ball field. Omaha had three men on bases with none out; three balls and two strikes had been called on the batter, when he met the ball solidly and drove it on a line straight to the shortstop…It looked like a sure triple play, but [baserunner] Cy Forsythe...reached up into the air with his right hand and pulled the ball down, thus preventing the shortstop from catching it.

Naturally, a long argument immediately took place. St. Joseph insisted that Forsythe and the batter should be declared out for the former’s interference, which prevented the shortstop from completing at least a double play. The umpire could find nothing in the rule book to warrant such a decision and called Forsythe out for interference.

I’m not sure what the rule was in 1915, but in 2015, this situation was covered with Rule 6.01(a)(6): If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball…the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner

It’s still probably a good move by a baserunner if he’s fairly certain he’s breaking up a triple play, but that’s not likely to happen terribly often.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 04, 2016 at 09:45 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-3-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, February 3, 1916:

Kansas City is going to be in a major baseball league within two years, according to [American League president Ban] Johnson. He said Kansas City was “a major league city right now.” He thought it would fit into the American League better than the National, and intimated one of the St. Louis clubs might be involved in such a move.

Ban was off by 37 years, but (obviously) Kansas City got its MLB club and both of them have been in the AL.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 03, 2016 at 07:46 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, kansas city

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-2-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, February 2, 1916:

Wagner and Lajoie are starting their twentieth big league campaigns. Did it ever occur to you they were batting over .300 in the Big Show before—

1. The Colonel, or T.R., was drafted from the minors?
2. Before W.J. Bryan had run for president but once?
3. Before the Spanish-American War was even thought of?
4. Before President Wilson had gotten used to his job as president of Princeton?
...
9. Before Ty Cobb reached the fourth grade at the public school?

...before Julio Franco played his first professional game?

In other news, the National League celebrated its 40th birthday on February 2, 1916.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 02, 2016 at 07:53 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, honus wagner, nap lajoie

Monday, February 01, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-1-2016

Pittsburgh Press, February 1, 1916:

James McGill, who bought the Denver club of the Western league and the Indianapolis club of the American Association, after he inherited a fortune from his uncle…may have to sell both clubs as a result of suits files against him by Jack Coffey, former Denver manager, and Mrs. Coffey.
...
Mrs. Coffey alleges she was induced to enter McGill’s auto when he told her Mrs. McGill was to go with them. She charges that when she noticed McGill was driving into the country she protested, but that McGill overpowered her, then returned to the city in his auto, leaving her to walk a great distance before she could reach a street car.

Coffey resigned management of the Denver club in the midst of a hot fight for the pennant. The reason was not given at the time and was not known until a few days ago…

That’s effed up. Uncool, Slippin’ Jimmy. Uncool.

I haven’t tracked down any articles about the trial itself (if there was one), but McGill didn’t sell the teams in order to pay a civil judgment. In this article from 1918, it’s claimed that McGill folded the Denver club because attendance fell as a result of winning too many pennants. That seems difficult to believe, but whatever. Maybe attendance fell because he got George Shinn’d. The same article mentions that McGill wanted to sell his club in Indianapolis and buy the Los Angeles Angels, but it doesn’t appear that ever happened.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 01, 2016 at 09:46 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jack coffey, rape

Friday, January 29, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-29-2016

Pittsburgh Press, January 29, 1916:

Every baseball groundkeeper in the country is interested in the new rules for the laying out of a diamond as prepared by Secretary John A. Heydler, of the National league.
...
Nearly all of the groundkeepers erred in the location of the pitcher’s rubber. The diagram shows this distance to be 60.5’. This was interpreted by nearly all those who laid out the diamond to be 60 feet and five inches…It is claimed that some of the architects of the diamond started their measurement from the front of the plate, others from the center of the plate and some from the rear corner.

This, of course, inspired the musical Heydler and the Angry Inch.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 29, 2016 at 09:12 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, groundskeeping, history

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-28-2016

Washington Times, January 28, 1916:

Those Baltimore Federal League stockholders mean to go to the limit in their battle against organized baseball…
...
The directors of the Terrapins have been authorized to raise $50,000 to wage a court fight to recover damages for losses they claim to have sustained through the failure of the Federal League promoters to consider them when peace on the diamond was declared.
...
According to President Rasin, the Baltimoreans will sue to be reimbursed for about $240,000, including $100,000 spent building a ball park…Baltimore admits that it has absolutely no chance whatever of breaking into the big leagues.

Unfortunately for those stockholders, the lawsuit didn’t go as well as they’d expected.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 28, 2016 at 06:50 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: anti-trust exemption, dugout, federal league, history

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-27-2016

Pittsburgh Press, January 27, 1916:

A cub bear sent to [Cubs owner] Charles Weeghman by a Montana fan, did not fancy being a baseball mascot, even for the Chicago Cubs. When the bear escaped from its crate, it was shot while in a tailor shop.

Please do not send unsolicited bears to your favorite sports team. It may seem like a good idea, but it is not.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 27, 2016 at 06:34 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dugout, history

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-26-2016

Milwaukee Journal, January 26, 1916:

CHASE IS IN BAD

Seven American League club owners to not want him to play.

If President Phil Ball and Manager Jones of the St. Louis Browns decide they want Hal Chase for first base next season it will be because the wishes of seven other American league club owners have no weight with them.

Chase, it will be remembered, quit the White Sox in midseason, after having served notice on President Comiskey that he was going to exercise the ten days’ notice privilege in his contract, giving as his reason that he planned to engage in business with a friend in Buffalo. At the expiration of the ten days Chase hopped an elevated train and joined the Buffalo Federals, who were then playing the Whales on the north side.

I can see why that would annoy some people. Chase wound up in Cincinnati in 1916, where he led the NL in hits, batting average, and OPS+.

Stories like this make me wonder whether it was an open secret among the owners that Chase was actively involved in fixing ballgames. Who wouldn’t want a slick-fielding, base stealing first baseman who hits for both power and batting average? Being upset that he jumped to the Federal League is understandable, but where’s he going to jump now that the Fed is gone?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 26, 2016 at 06:33 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, hal chase, history

Monday, January 25, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-25-2016

A Zimmerman note in the Pittsburgh Press, January 25, 1916:

Johnny Evers has been offered in trade by the Braves to the Cubs for Heine Zimmerman. This fact was learned yesterday and along with it the probability that the offer would be rejected by Manager Tinker.
...
The report said that Tinker considered the offer carefully but talked as if of the opinion that Zimmerman would be able to play for a greater number of years than Evers.

That much was true. You could stick a fork in Johnny Evers’s career at this point. He played in 1916-17, but was old and bad. Also of note: I like the idea that Tinker would even consider trading one of his better players for an over-the-hill player he absolutely despised.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 25, 2016 at 09:44 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, heinie zimmerman, history, joe tinker, johnny evers

Friday, January 22, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-22-2016

Pittsburgh Press, January 22, 1916:

There is no denying that Joe Jackson is not as valuable to a ball team as his .368 grand average for six years would lead one to believe, but there is no danger of his losing his position as a regular in the Whitesox outfield. Jackson may be a slow thinker and an individual star, but as he only has to contest with Eddie Murphy, “Happy” Felsch, John Collins and Jacques Fournier for a regular position, he will have little trouble holding his position.

A story has been going the rounds that Jackson would be benched in favor of Fournier, because the latter hits almost as well and is a better man in other departments. That is just like benching Eddie Collins for a recruit, as Fournier affords opposing players and the fans much humor when he tries to play the outfield.

That’s a useful mental image of Fournier. I’m getting a picture of his defense as an unathletic version of Hanley Ramirez.

I’m trying to figure out what the writer means when he suggests that Jackson was worse than his batting average. This is nonsense, right? Jackson led the league in slugging once, on-base percentage once, and stole 200+ bases in his career. Offensively, he was inner-circle great. Things are a little murkier with regard to his defense. Modern metrics don’t seem to think much of Jackson’s glove, but AFAIK his reputation has always been good. Apart from the obvious ethical concerns, did Jackson have any weaknesses as a ballplayer?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 22, 2016 at 08:20 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, joe jackson

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-21-2016

Toledo News-Bee, January 21, 1916:

An injury caused by a slide to the plate will result in amputation of the right leg of Jim Baskette, former Cleveland, Toledo and Kansas City pitcher, say reports from Chattanooga, his home.

A piece of bone has been removed from Baskette’s leg, but there are signs of decay, physicians say. Southern league fans are raising a fund to aid the ball player.

That really sucks. According to the newsletter of the Baseball Players’ Fraternity, the injury wasn’t thought to be serious at the time, but the bone became infected. The Fraternity, a proto-MLBPA, voted to send Baskette a monthly allowance until he became self-sufficient, which may well have never happened. As you might imagine, he never played again.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 21, 2016 at 08:41 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jim baskette

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-20-2016

Toledo News-Bee, January 20, 1916:

Secretary J.H. Farrell of the National Association of Professional Baseball leagues has issued a list of Federal league players “now free agents and authorized to sign where they please.” On the list is Milo Packard, a former Kansas City Fed, who was killed accidentally last spring trailing a shotgun through a fence.

Cross him off, then.

On second thought, maybe don’t cross him off. Eugene Milo “Gene” Packard pitched for Kansas City in 1914 and 1915 and lived into his 70s. His little brother, Milo Packard, occasionally threw batting practice for the KC Feds and died when he was hit by lightning in June 1915. Milo may or may not have been under contract to Kansas City, but he never actually played in a game for them. It seems possible that the writer may have gotten his Packard brothers mixed up. Or maybe not. I don’t know.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 20, 2016 at 10:05 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, gene packard, history

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-19-2016

Pittsburgh Press, January 19, 1916:

If the American League records, as they should, took account of the Red Cross passes received by the players and added them to the athletes’ total of regulation gifts, Tyrus Cobb would have been the Johnsonites’ champion hiker last season. The Dixie Demon, who drew one less complimentary than Eddie Collins, was hit by the slabmen six more times than the White Sock and therefore was deadhanded to first five more times than the former Mackman.
...
“Doc” Johnston was the Ty Cobb of the Pirates, getting 13 free trips to first because he was wounded by pitched balls. Bill Hinchman, another ex-employee of Charles M. Somers, trudged eight times by reason of receiving widely flung balls in his anatomy.
...
Wade Hampton Killefer of the Reds, on April 16 got a pair of casualty complimentaries from the Pirate gunners

Another example of old-timey writing being great. “Red Cross passes”, “wounded by pitched balls”, trudging by reason of receiving widely flung balls in the anatomy. Casualty complimentaries.

Ernest J. Lanigan, my hat’s off to you.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-18-2016

Washington Herald, January 18, 1916:

AMERICAN LEAGUE MANAGERS LAUGH AT MACK’S THREAT TO REPEAT THIS SEASON

Mack’s Pennant Talk Considered Big Joke

Connie Mack’s threat that he will give Philadelphia a winning ball club in 1917, and will start ripping things up during the middle of the coming season, is taken with a grain of salt and a large series of snorts by almost every manager in the American League.
...
The dope about the Athletics from those who are on the inside is to the effect that with McInnis and Strunk and Schang as a nucleus, Connie cannot produce enough strength to make the Athletics a first-division contender for five years or more.

Tell us how you really feel, American League managers. Don’t hold back.

They were right, of course. The 1916 Athletics were the worst team in modern baseball history. They finished the season 36-117, a .235 winning percentage. As for ripping things up during the middle of the season, well…between June 2 and August 8, the Athletics went 4-56.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 18, 2016 at 08:19 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, connie mack, dugout, history

Friday, January 15, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-15-2016

Toledo News-Bee, January 15, 1916:

Baseball on ice is a reality and a peach of a game.
...
About the only difference in rules for the ice contest and summer ball concern the size of the bat and ball…the bat being thinner than the regular baseball bat and the ball larger and softer.
...
More bases are stolen in the ice game and outfielders cover more ground because players can move faster.

There is a lot of hitting because infielders are liable to be a little slower in starting for ground-hit balls than if they were on turf with spiked shoes. There are plenty of chances, however, for spectacular plays by infielders and outfielders.

Sounds like a lot of fun, but I can see Ice Baseball Jim Edmonds making a diving catch and just continuing to slide indefinitely until he hit land. By the way, there’s a photo of ice baseball action in the linked article.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 15, 2016 at 08:13 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-14-2016

El Paso Herald, January 14, 1916:

[Benny] Kauff probably breaks more bats in a season than any other player - or any six other players - in the game.
...
Kauff usually starts a season with 12 new bats and gets in a new assortment every six weeks or so. If Kauff hits a fly the first time he uses a bat he breaks it immediately.
...
[Kauff] owns about 30 suits of clothes and he gives each suit a “work out” at least every two weeks. Kauff has been known to change his street clothes four times in a day.
...
Since the 1915 season closed Kauff has purchased four automobiles, trading in the first as part payment on the second, trading the second in part payment for the third and exchanging the third and some cash for the fourth.

This whole car thing is nothing but trouble, Benny. You should really stay away from automobiles.

Kauff seems like a fascinating guy. I wish his story had a happier ending, but his flameout was at least colorful and interesting, even if it was wildly unfair and unjust.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 14, 2016 at 09:58 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: benny kauff, dugout, history

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-13-2016

New York Tribune, January 13, 1916:

Europe is clutched in the frenzied grip of Mars at present, but, even while hostile guns batter down the defences of cities and ruthless armies sweep on in a march of destruction, the French have taken to baseball with the enthusiasm that is characteristic of the race.
...
“The French people,” said [Cuban journalist Ralph] Conte, yesterday, “are taking up baseball with even greater enthusiasm than we Cubans embraced it.”

Unfortunately, things would get much, much worse for France and the French people over the next 34 months. They didn’t have a lot of spare time for things like baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 13, 2016 at 08:52 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, international

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-12-2016

Milwaukee Journal, January 12, 1916:

Harry Sinclair, angel of the Federal league, apparently expects to recuperate his losses by selling his baseball flesh at fancy prices. Here is what he asks for some of the athletes.

Benny Kauff: $85,000
Lee Magee: $60,000
Gene Packard: $25,000

Sinclair has about as much chance of getting that kind of money for his players as the Kaiser’s son would have in Paris.

Interestingly, all of the baseball people named in this story were either jailed, banned, or otherwise corrupt. Kauff was banned for life for…being accused of a crime he didn’t commit, I guess? Magee was booted for admitting to trying (and failing) to throw a game. Packard was implicated in a plot to fix a game in 1920, and may or may not have helped the Cubs throw the 1918 World Series. And as I’ve mentioned before, Sinclair was a key player in the Teapot Dome Scandal.

At least the Kaiser only started* an apocalyptic war, the likes of which the human race had never seen.

* - This, of course, is a matter of debate. I’ve seen everybody this side of Paul “Bear” Bryant accused of starting WWI. I tend to think the Kaiser could have done better, but doesn’t deserve the blame he’s gotten.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 12, 2016 at 09:06 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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